Thursday, November 26, 2015         


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Big rally puts Seabury Hall in title match

The Spartans bounce back from an 0-2 deficit to defeat Farrington in five

By Billy Hull


One team let a two-set lead go to waste.

The other watched No. 2 seed Farrington survive five consecutive match points.

In the end, Division II Maui Interscholastic League champion Seabury Hall stood tall, rallying for a gut-wrenching 14-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-22, 16-14 win to advance to the championship game of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Girls Volleyball State Championships on Thursday night at Kalani.


Thursday's results

» Waimea def. Hana 25-21, 15-25, 16-14

» Hawaii Prep def. La Pietra 20-25, 25-14, 15-7


The Spartans (14-1) will play defending champion Saint Francis tonight at 5 at the Blaisdell Arena to try to become the second team from the MIL in three years to win a Division II title.

"I have a few more gray hairs," Seabury Hall coach Scottie Zucco said after his team rallied from two sets down. "I saw Farrington play on TV and, in my opinion, that was the team that was going to really go far in the tournament and they gave a wonderful effort."

The Governors (13-3) seemed headed to the title game after blitzing the Spartans in the first set and winning the final four points in the second to go up 2-0.

But with their tournament on the line, sophomore Kiki Leuteneker, who had a team-high 17 kills and seven blocks, said the Spartans began to find their way toward the end of the second set.

"You have to keep up the positive energy the whole time, even when you're down," Leuteneker said. "We could tell we could do it if we tried harder and harder."

Senior Trinity Alulau had a match-high 22 kills for Farrington, but was held to only two in the third set as Seabury Hall began to close down the middle.

Leuteneker and 6-foot-2 senior Regal Deen-Jackson combined for four blocks in the third set.

Farrington committed 11 hitting errors in the third set after hitting just five through the first two.

"We were a little bit slow to warm, but once we warmed up, the girls started to believe and play their game," Zucco said. "We were really concerned about (Farrington's) athleticism and power … and once we got a little bit used to the power, the game started to slow down a little bit and it was a lot easier for us to make our decisions."

Seabury Hall took a 19-18 lead in Set 4 on a service error when the game was delayed more than 10 minutes after a disagreement with the officials on a Seabury Hall substitution.

Once play resumed, Alualu tied the game at 20-all with a kill before the Spartans won five of the next seven points to force a fifth and deciding set.

Seabury Hall was in control in the fifth set, taking a 14-9 lead on Deen-Jackson's fourth kill in the set.

Farrington didn't go down without a fight, rallying for five straight points to tie the game at 14-all as Savannah Kahakai put down two of her 14 kills.

Zucco had two timeouts at his disposal but decided to let his kids play through it.

"I was confident in the girls," he said. "When it comes down to crunch time, they can't be looking at me, they need to look inside and I'm happy the gamble paid off."

Leuteneker finished off the Govs, surprising them with a quick set over the net for a kill and a 15-14 lead.

Both teams engaged in a long rally on the next point before Leuteneker's block ended the match that took just over 2 hours.

"It was intense," she said. "Just felt like screaming."

Sophomore setter Gabby Ratte had 39 assists and Lena Fox had 26 digs for Seabury Hall.

Sophomore Shaunalei Kahakai had 26 assists and Savannah Kahakai added 15 assists, seven digs and three blocks for Farrington.

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